By Missy Sheehan
Great content rarely happens by accident—many large companies have entire teams of marketing experts to craft unique and interesting content for them everyday. For small businesses, though, planning and writing content to post regularly on blogs and social media can be a daunting task. To tackle this challenge, small business owners can make use of a tool used often in the marketing and publishing worlds to manage the process of planning, creating and publishing content: the editorial calendar.
Creating an editorial calendar can help your business develop a strategic posting schedule that can range from a few weeks to several months in advance. By planning your content ahead of time, you’ll be able to align content with your business goals and develop the best overall strategy for your business.
Crafting great content doesn't have to be daunting for small business owners.
Follow these steps to create an editorial calendar for your business’s blog and social media channels:
Step 1. Determine Your Schedule
First, decide how often you want to post. For social media, this could be anywhere from once a day to a couple times a week. For a blog, posting new content weekly is recommended. How ever often you decide is sufficient for your business, it’s important to be consistent. It’s better to regularly post to your blog twice a month than randomly post every day one week followed by two months of no posts at all. Consistency is key.
Step 2. Brainstorm Posting Ideas
After determining your posting schedule, figure out what you’re going to post. This can be the most time-consuming part of creating an editorial calendar. For this step, consider how your content will align with your business goals and look for opportunities to supplement your existing marketing efforts.
There are a few must-have items to include in your calendar, such as time and date of publishing, ideas for content topics and potential headlines, where the content will be published (e.g., Facebook, Twitter, your blog) and possible keywords and relevant links.
For social media, begin by identifying key topics you want to cover each month. For instance, if you know your company will be launching new products or services or participating in an event, mark that in your calendar and schedule posts that will build anticipation leading up to those events. Also take advantage of your business’s other content, such as blog posts, that can be shared via social media.
For your blog, identify the key topics you want to cover and break them down into categories. Otherwise, your blog can become a free-for-all mess of topics and ideas.
If you need additional ideas to fill your editorial calendar, look for opportunities to latch on to holidays or special events that can be tied into your content.
Step 3. Make Your Editorial Calendar
The easiest way to organize your editorial calendar is by creating a spreadsheet. Google Drive offers several user-created spreadsheet templates for editorial calendars—check them out here.
Once you have a spreadsheet started, fill in your business’s events and note any related blog posts you want to write about them. Then add holidays and their related blog posts. Finally, start adding posts from your list of ideas. Try to mix up the blog categories and types of posts to add variety so you aren’t repeating the same kinds of posts over and over.
Try to schedule posts at least two to three months in advance. Doing so gives you enough structure to keep your blog and social media channels running smoothly, but also enough flexibility to move things around when you need to.
Step 4. Check and Update Your Editorial Calendar
An editorial calendar only works if you keep up with it. So be sure to check back frequently and update it when necessary. Your editorial calendar isn’t set in stone; if new events come up, for instance, add those into your calendar. Some content creators like to leave space for adding new ideas as they think of them. Keep brainstorming new post ideas and schedule them as needed.
Crafting great content doesn’t have to be daunting for small business owners. Once you’ve followed these four steps, you’ll be well on your way to building a strong and consistent online presence for your business’s blog and social media channels.